Biarritz sweep Ospreys aside
January 22, 2012
Taku Ngwenya bagged a hat-trick against the Ospreys
© Getty Images
Biarritz crushed the Ospreys 36-5 at the Parc des Sports Aguilera on Sunday but it was not enough to book their passage into this season's Heineken Cup quarter-finals.
Speed king Takudzwa Ngwenya scored a blistering hat-trick of tries as Biarritz profited against a flimsy Ospreys defence to wrap up their Pool Five campaign with a bonus point triumph that sees them progress to the last eight of the Amlin Challenge Cup where they will play Premiership side London Wasps.
Left-wing Benoit Baby and the impressive former England fullback Iain Balshaw crossed for the Basque side's other tries with scrum-half and master tactician Dimitri Yachvili racking up 11 points through four conversions and a penalty. The Swansea-based Ospreys, who started the match in second spot in but level on 13 points with their third-placed opponents, had the dominant scrum but little else with their only score coming when replacement hooker Richard Hibbard pounced on a Biarritz line-out blunder for a try.
France star Yachvili twice cut open Ospreys' defence to set up Biarritz's first try with just five minutes on the clock. The ball was worked to Ngwenya and he made light work of a potentially difficult finish by brushing aside Dan Biggar and Eli Walker.
Balshaw created the home side's second try second after launching an attack from inside his half. He drew Ospreys fullback Barry Davies before freeing Ngwenya. Ireland star Tommy Bowe dashed across from the other wing in a valiant effort to cut the flyer off but was unable to prevent the touchdown.
Yachvili again expertly converted from wide out to put them 14 points up against opponents who appeared shell-shocked. Even after doing something right, like winning a penalty with a strong scrummage, Ospreys kicker Biggar failed to find touch.
Biarritz ran the ball back and the movement culminated with flanker Justin Tipuric infringing at the breakdown for Yachvili to slot the penalty to make it 17-0.
The Welsh region made changes at half-time with Ryan Jones taking over from Tom Smith at blindside flanker, Ryan Bevington from loose-head prop Paul James and Kahn Fotuali'i from Rhys Webb at scrum-half.
Fotuali'i had been on for barely five minutes before unluckily being sin-binned for an alleged dangerous tackle on Wenceslas Lauret. Lauret had chased and jumped to catch the ball and Fotuali'i was unable to get out of his way. The Biarritz player made a meal of it and English referee Wayne Barnes quickly stuck a hand in a pocket and brandished the yellow card.
While a bemused Fotuali'i was kicking his heels on the sidelines a long pass from Biarritz outside-half Julien Peyrelongue missed out two attackers to put Baby over in the corner for an unconverted try.
He was still a spectator when Balshaw managed to ground the ball in the corner for a touchdown to secure a bonus point. Hibbard got Ospreys on the score-board but the one-way traffic resumed when Ngwenya waltzed through a reluctant defence for his third try to put the gloss on a compelling performance.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham
"These little deft touches, the nuances O'Driscoll has perfected are what Ireland will miss most." Tom Hamilton on Brian O'Driscoll's final Test in Dublin